WOW! Another POW for Lofton

He's a modest guy who doesn't seek individual honors. They just seem to find him.

Chris Lofton, Tennessee's sharp-shooting 6-2 senior guard, was tabbed SEC Player of the Week on Monday for his play Feb. 4-10. It was his seventh such recognition, breaking a tie with former Alabama star Kennedy Winston (six times from 2003-05) and giving Lofton more POW honors than any athlete in league history.

"I don't know if I really deserve it but it's a great accomplishment to be named SEC Player of the Week," Lofton said. "Our focus right now is (Wednesday night's game with) Arkansas, though, and that's what we're going to stay focused on."

Lofton scored 26 points in the Vols' 104-82 defeat of Florida last Tuesday, then came back with nearly one-third of UT's points (15) in a 47-45 win on Saturday at LSU.

After leading the SEC in scoring at 20.8 points per game last year, the pride of Maysville, Ky., is averaging 15.7 in a more balanced 2008 Vol offense. He has warmed up after a slow start, hitting 47.9 percent of his 3-point tries in SEC play. He ranks seventh in NCAA history with 392 treys and is inching his way toward the all-time top five.

In spite of his achievements, Lofton prefers to talk about the team ... even when the team is coming off perhaps its worst game of the season last Saturday at Baton Rouge. The Vols won 47-45 despite hitting a season-low 31.7 percent from the floor and a putrid 26.7 percent (4 of 15) from the foul line. They had twice as many turnovers (15) as assists (6). Discounting Lofton's 6-of-12 shooting, the other guards were a combined 2 for 23 as JaJuan Smith went 1 for 8, J.P. Prince 1 for 7, Ramar Smith 0 for 4 and Jordan Howell 0 for 4.

Being an upbeat sort of guy, Lofton views the fact UT could play so poorly and still notch a win as a positive sign.

"Nobody played well. Nobody hit a shot, really," he conceded. "It was a bad game for us as a team. But anytime you can come out with a win when you play bad as a team, it makes you feel kinda' good ... makes you want to get back in the gym to practice harder and try to get better."

Incredibly, Tennessee got just one transition bucket all game, that coming when JaJuan Smith stole the ball and scored the game-winning layup with 11.7 seconds left. Like everyone else, Lofton was surprised that UT had to play the entire game at the Tigers' tempo.

"At Tennessee, we like to get out and play the fast-break game," he said. "But LSU slowed us down. They forced us into some things we didn't want to do, and it showed. We really didn't score well in the half court. I give them credit. They played a great game and they deserved to win."


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